You can finally see Montreal’s iconic Habitat 67 as it was meant to look

Explore the brutalist landmark in its full (digital) glory

Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67 is among North America’s most beloved brutalist buildings, a staggered ‘pyramid’ of inhabitable concrete volumes created for the 1967 World’s Fair. But impressive as it is, the Montreal landmark is a mere fraction of Safdie’s ‘unfinished’ vision.

Nearly 60 years on, the firm has teamed up with Neoscape to build a virtual version of Safdie’s full plan in the 3D gaming tool Unreal Engine. And it’s mega-sized and bursting with plant life.

Built for the 1967 World’s Fair, Habitat 67 was envisaged as a revolutionary affordable housing project and a modular alternative to urban sprawl. Outdoor terraces and aerial walkways connected the building complex to the Saint Lawrence River, maximising urban density. However, a limited budget meant that Safdie’s modernist vision was only realised on a small scale leaving much of the complex on the drawing board.

Unreal reveals the heritage-listed site in its full glory, with users able to navigate the Hillside Sample Project’s unbuilt sections – and even take
a tour of the complex with Safdie via Google Chrome and Google Streaming. It’s a tantalising taste of what could have been – and demonstrates just how much the building was ahead of its time.

Image: Unreal Engine
Image: Unreal Engine2
Image: Unreal Engine

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